England give themselves chance of celebrating record run chase
England are just 6/4 to complete their highest ever Test run chase and secure victory over Sri Lanka in Galle.
The chances of an England victory in the first Test looked largely remote after Sri Lanka fathomed a partnership of 47 for their final wicket to reach 214 in their second innings.
This set England 340 to win, with this previous most successful run chase being some eight short of this total.
And with no England batsman managing to score a Test century since August, it was hard to be optimistic that the chase would be completed.
However, after Rangana Herath claimed the scalps of openers Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss to add to his six wickets in the first innings, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen saw out the remainder of the day.
The duo put on England’s highest partnership of the match at 63 to leave the score at 111/2 at the close of play.
Trott was largely watchful in making 40 and it is just 2/9 now that he makes at least a half century.
However, England will be pinning most of their hopes on Trott staying at the crease if they are to win given his patient demeanour and it is 5/6 that he makes at least 70, while it is 9/4 that he sticks around for a century.
Pietersen was far less settled in reaching 29 and has already used one life after Kumar Sangakkara dropped what looked a relatively easy chance.
It is 8/15 that Pietersen makes Sangakkara pay with a 50 and 3/1 that he rubs major salt in the wound by reaching three figures.
Sri Lanka are still heavy favourites at 8/15 to triumph in the cricket odds and know that one wicket could cause a domino effect, particularly if the pitch shows greater levels of deterioration on day four to further suit the spinners.